Thursday, January 29, 2015

National Collegiate Day of Prayer - 200th Year!

Thursday, February 26th is the National Collegiate Day of Prayer. I had stated earlier that it was their 100th year....In Fact: it is the 200th Year for the National Collegiate Day of Prayer! You can go to their website( adopt a campus that you pray for other than your own.

What should you do that day? Join with other College Ministers from your campus or area (of all stripes and kinds) to pray for your campus and to pray for the campuses of our country. If you have your large group meeting Thursday night or a Leadership meeting, take time specifically to pray for some specific campuses.

If you want to reach our country, prioritize the college campuses of our country. Let's all pray together that day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Watch Your Keys

I had a football coach who was continually yelling (he had the spiritual gift of loud.), "Watch your keys". He coached the defensive backs and the keys that kept you in the right place were things like the quarterback's eyes, etc. Pro golfers talk about their "swing keys" like, head down and still. Things that help keep their swing in right alignment. What are your "Ministry Keys"? Things that keep your ministry in right alignment and you being where you are supposed to be. Here are some of what I think are "College Ministry keys".

-Being a student of your campus...what are it's unique features, where are the best places to connect with students and what is the typical personality of your campus students?

-Having a positive relationship with the campus administration. They see you at best as a benefit to them and at least not a negative. You know the campus rules and your ministry does not break them.

-Student Ownership...students feel like the ministry is theirs. They are involved in making decisions and therefore are willing to invest much of themselves in the ministry.

-Being You....utilizing your specific gifts and strengths. You are not trying to be a copy of your hero in ministry or whoever has the latest hot book out. Plus, you understand the "Season of Life" you are in age wise and you recognize the strengths that season brings to your ministry. You are playing to your strengths.

-Developed Network of need partners for emotional and spiritual support. You need partners for ministry finances. Maybe even, you need partners for your salary. But, even if you have a wonderful salary provided by somebody, you need a network of encouragers. You need fellow College Ministers to share your defeats and victories. Who do you talk to when you feel like you have been kicked in the head.

-Being a person of integrity and character that is walking with the Lord...the kind of person people want to send their sons and daughters to.

He used to yell, "Watch your keys now, you hear"?

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Unforgivable Sin in College Ministry?

Apart from not teaching the Gospel or sharing our faith, what are the things we have to do to make a College Ministry work?

My church recently lost our College Minister and I was asked to step in for the first three weeks and speak at our weekly collegiate event. The first one went well. We had a good crowd and they could not have been more responsive to what I had to say. Some even asked me specific questions about my message after it was over. To me, that's the best compliment. Later someone said, there were several people there who had never been before.

Then it it hit me.....we had committed what I think is "The Unforgivable Sin of College Ministry". No one had in any way gotten names and contact info. There was not a sign in sheet; there were no Info Cards. I didn't have a cheat sheet in my pocket where I wrote down names and numbers when I met a student for the first time.

Now, we can HOPE they will come back. We can HOPE they know we are glad they came. We goofed! Are you assuming everyone who comes to your event...perhaps for the first time at the start of this semester....knows you are glad they came and will come back? Do you know how to contact them?

What's your "Unforgivable Sin of College Ministry" and are you guarding against committing it?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Collegiate Connect Day - Sunday, January 25th

Collegiate Connect Day is the annual day set to have a special emphasis and encouragement for college and university students to connect to one local church by joining that church.

Why should a College Ministry Church observe Collegiate Connect Day?
1. Faith is about being part of the body of believers.
2. Students have a tendency to float from one church to another or do "Cafeteria Churching". They pick this event from our church and this good thing from that church, and oh yeah, they go over to that church for their events sometimes too. They don't learn and develop the concept of commitment to one church.
3. Although we might think this is not such a bad thing....they are going to church....they are seeking the Lord. Are we raising a generation that will do "Cafeteria Churching" as young families and middle aged adults?

Why don't college students join a church like they used to?
1. Churches used to tell their student going off to college to "move their membership" when they got there. Now, most no longer do that and in fact, they may say, "We don't want to lose you".
2. The MAIN reason students don't join a church? They are not encouraged to and they don't know how.

So, how could I do Collegiate Connect Day?
1. Talk to your students about joining and why it matters. Some Collegiate Churches have "Watchcare Membership" for students to identify with that church, but don't technically join.
2. When students know other students will join at that time, it makes it easier for them to do so also.
3. You could send a message to each student who has visited your church since school started telling them their joining options and encouraging them to do so.

One More Reason to Do Collegiate Connect Day: the University Minister at the church I attend did this last year and 15 students joined that one day. It highlighted th College Ministry to the whole church. The church thought he was the best College Minister we had ever had!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Growing Trend in College Ministry for 2015

I believe one significant change we will see continue to develop is a greater difference in how College Ministry is done in the east and north and how it is done in the deep south. This has always been true to some degree simply due to finances and facilities.

I had the priviledge in recent days to participate in a widespread twitter conversation/dialogue around the prediction that "By 2030 half of all traditional colleges will disappear". I don't Know who originally made that prediction. But, the widespread twitter discussion was, "What does that mean for College Ministry?". Most of those participating were the younger more tech savvy, entrepreneurial Campus Ministers that serve outside the Bible Belt. One idea advanced in the discussion was the idea of doing away with weekly large group meetings. This idea was endorsed by many in the conversation. The purpose of doing away with a weekly large group event was to send students to the campuses in a more missional way.

Later in the week, I visited the old fashion way (by phone) with a coordinator/supervisor of some of the larger College Ministries in the south. He was not at all on board with the idea of doing away with weekly large group meetings. First, he spoke to the need for developing community. Secondly, you don't do away with something that is working simply because a new idea has come along.

Who is right and who is wrong here? My contention would be neither. Both are speaking to their context. But it does point me to my belief that Campus Ministry outside the south is more and more going to look very different than those in the Bible Belt.

But, a danger I see here is each of these groups drawing into their own cocoons and not talking with, listening to and learning from each other. There is also the danger that if the more tech savvy College Ministers drive all of the philosophical conversations, outside forces can likely determine that what they are saying is "the only right way to do it". This might force change in areas where "old ideas" such as weekly large group meetings are still being super effective.

My takeaway?
1. We all need to talk to and listen to College Ministers who don't think just like we do. If you do College Ministry, you must speak to the overall conversation....not just serve on your campus.
2. Minister in YOUR context.
3. And oh yeah, if your supervisor says you will have a large group weekly better have a large group weekly event!